Questions for the Presidential Candidates

By J. Donovan - B. Carlton • August 3rd, 2015

The run for the White House is underway and there’s no shortage of candidates,
currently 21 in all: 16 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

We have three questions for them:

1.    What role do they see philanthropy playing in making our country stronger and serving the less fortunate among us?

2.    Are they willing to give a larger tax deduction for gifts to homeless agencies vs. the same deduction for a gift to Harvard University, which has an endowment of $32 billion?

3.    Would they consider moving some government welfare programs to the nonprofit sector, especially those serving the less fortunate?

In short, it’s time to make philanthropy a priority for the United States.

As for the first question—giving in the U.S. hit a record $358 billion in 2014 according to the recent Giving USA Report.  Of this amount only 12% went to human service organizations.  Allowing a larger tax deduction for contributions to human service organizations could be a great help in reaching more of America’s poor and needy.

As for the second question, we have no axe to grind with Harvard University, however wouldn’t it be helpful if donors got a larger tax deduction for making an endowment gift to a human service agency, thereby allowing them to have an annual source of earned income to meet the demand for their services and making them less dependent on the annual appeals for cash.

Would any of the candidates, as we ask in question three, consider moving some current government programs to the nonprofit sector? This could save taxpayers’ dollars for funding government agencies that are often too bureaucratic and costly.

Many of those running for the Presidency have their own foundations and have given generously to many deserving causes. That’s to be commended.  On the other hand have these candidates held any forums with leaders of the country’s national agencies that serve the less fortunate, like homeless families, homeless veterans and food pantries?

Just as importantly, have any of the major television network reporters like Bill O’Reilly or Chris Wallace brought up the candidates’ position on improving philanthropy?

We realize nonprofits walk a thin line when it comes to political issues, as they don’t want to jeopardize their 501 c-3 status. However, at the same time such questions need to be raised. So if you or someone you know has a direct contact with O’Reilly or Wallace or those conducting the upcoming Presidential Debates please pass this on to them.

All the Best for Continued $ucce$$

Jim Donovan
Bill Carlton


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